Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Juggling work from home with parenting? Here's how to ease the stress

Stay at home mother using laptop and holding her head in pain while her son is doing homework.. Photo: Drazen Zigic

Stay at home mother using laptop and holding her head in pain while her son is doing homework.. Photo: Drazen Zigic

Working from home and dealing with the demands of children, navigating the world of online schooling and everything else in between could be stressful for some parents.

“People are frightened, they are traumatised because their lives have changed, because they have flooding happening, there are multiple issues coming to them at one time,” says Isolde Ali-Ghent.

A Trinidad-based clinical psychologist who works with children and families, Ali-Ghent advises that the best way for parents to cope is to first accept the reality that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought.

“The first thing is to sit down and say okay, let us accept that our truths have shifted, our realities and norms have shifted. Let us spend some time validating our feelings about our new normal, we tend to dismiss on our own feelings and hone in on everyone around us,” she tells Loop.

“We keep wanting to go back. We were always under the illusion we had power and control over our lives, that we could predict and schedule and we never, never did. COVID has humbled me. I never thought for a moment that going to the grocery could be life threatening and the things we took for granted could be a privilege,” she says..

Isolde Ali-Ghent, Clinical Psychologist and Founder of IAG and Associates

Ali-Ghent says parents are often guilty of putting others before them but they need to take care of themselves before giving to others.

“Parenting begins with us. In the plane they tell you to put our oxygen mask on first. If we don’t take care of ourselves as parents and do some self-reflection we will end up not paying attention to our own thoughts and actions and we will hurt he ones we hold close,” she says.

Coming to terms with our reality will help to alleviate stress and help parents to improve the way they communicate with their children as that relationship suffers as a result.

Ali-Ghent suggests doing the following exercises to create a more stress-free state of mind that will allow us to cope with everything life is currently throwing at us.

1: Schedule time for self-reflection. Make it a priority.

2: Reflect on your day. Ali-Ghent says: “What am I spending my time doing? Look at your norm and see what’s missing. Do you have bonding time with the kids, if not, schedule time with them. You can exercise together or do activities together.

3: Stick to a routine so you are not overwhelmed by the day’s activities

4: Visualise positive outcomes instead of focusing on negativity. “We need to be heart-centred and heart-driven but instead we are fear-centred and driven,” says Ali-Ghent.

5: Listen to your voice when you criticise your children. Ali-Ghent says: “When you go to criticise your children, listen to your voice, what are you really trying to do? Behind that is fear, am I feeding this fear by lending it energy? When we criticise, it comes from a place of love but it is negated by our own fears.”

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